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Liberty University announces leadership changes in School of Engineering, CASAS

Liberty University has announced the following changes in academic administration for the School of Engineering and College of Applied Studies and Academic Success (CASAS) ahead of the 2024-25 academic year:

Dr. Mark Horstemeyer, who has served as dean of the School of Engineering since 2019, is leaving his administrative role to focus on research related to creation science, creationeering®, and apologetics. He will remain on the engineering staff as a Distinguished Professor of Engineering and is currently a Senior Fellow for Liberty’s Center for Apologetics & Cultural Engagement.

Horstemeyer’s education philosophy, deeply rooted in creationism and a biblical worldview, has helped hundreds of graduates combine engineering with a passionate desire to impact their vocation and society for Christ. He introduced creationeering® concepts — using properties found in God’s creation to make engineering innovations in the field — thus modifying the engineering school’s curriculum.

During his leadership, Liberty celebrated its first M.S. and Ph.D. students in Engineering.

Alongside other valued faculty members, Horstemeyer worked fervently to renew and retain ABET accreditation for the mechanical, electrical, industrial & systems, and computer engineering programs.

Also during his time as dean, the School of Engineering experienced one of its largest leaps in enrollment. When he started at Liberty in 2019, there were approximately 500 students in the residential and online programs; currently, there over 1,500 students.

Horstemeyer strongly supported the school’s competition teams that reached major competitive milestones in the last few years, including the Rocketry and Motorsports Formula squads, Theme Park Engineering, VEX Robotics, Liberty Orbit, Steel Bridge, and Concrete Canoe.

Horstemeyer came to Liberty after 30 years of industrial, national laboratory, and academic experience. His significant contributions to the field of engineering have included cutting-edge Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) research in the nuclear industry and revolutionizing safety testing in the automotive industry. He has published over 500 journal articles, conference papers, books, and technical reports and has delivered over 150 lectures throughout the world. He has been named a fellow in different national societies: American Society of Metals, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society of Automotive Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Horstemeyer hopes to use his background to create a technical, scientific apologetic called “Simulating Genesis” in which he trains Ph.D. students to use state-of-the-art computational tools to show visually what may have happened in the creation week and the Genesis Flood of Noah’s day.

Dr. Carl Pettiford, who has been a member of the School of Engineering faculty since 2009, will serve as interim dean.

Pettiford has made significant contributions to the field of electrophysics and electromagnetics. His research has been published in numerous reputable journals, including the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, Applied Physics Letters, and IEEE Transactions on Magnetics.

He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association (ECEDHA), and International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) as an Associate Systems Engineering Professional (ASEP).

Pettiford holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University, an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Dayton, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Hawaii.

Dr. Dwayne Melton has been named interim dean of the College of Applied Studies and Academic Success (CASAS).

He has more than 15 years of experience in higher education, in both the residential and online formats. He has taught a variety of entry and graduate-level courses at Liberty, from business communications and project planning to courses on study strategies and self-management skills.

Melton’s previous experience includes service in the U.S. Air Force, sales and operations management, sport programming through County Parks and Recreation, and faith-based nonprofit work focused on community engagement.

Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Scott Hicks:

“These changes reflect our ongoing commitment to providing our students with a world-class education, guided by our faith and trust in God’s wisdom. I am confident that under their leadership, both the School of Engineering and CASAS will continue to thrive and innovate, walking in the path that God has set for us. Please join me in praying for and congratulating Dr. Horstemeyer, Dr. Pettiford, and Dr. Melton on their new roles.”

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